Hello, i hope that you can help. I have a medical enquiry. I have seen my
vets about this but it is a mystery! I am and have been a breeder of Rex
Guinea Pigs for 4 years now and since the new year it is falling apart.
have lost 3 of my guinea pigs due to the same illness but no one seems to
know what it is. It is not related to their teeth and doesn´t seem to be age
related. The symptoms seem to be weight loss at first, they are still eating
and bright enough not to notice that they are unwell. Once they do show a
little slowness in their usual character they go downhill very fast and
within 24hrs they have collapsed and died or I have taken them to be put to
sleep. The last one that died, last night, was the worst, he was actually
regurgitating and was coming back up the nose, my vet was doing a post
mortom on him last night to see if she could find anything.
Nothing seems to help to revive them, baytril injections. Hartmans solution
injected under the skin. I was having to do that every couple of hours. I am
a veterinary nurse so this is really frightening me that nothing can be done
to save my babies. Please could you inform me of anything that this could be.
I dont want to loose any more.
You said you did not feel it had anything to do with the teeth. Sharp hay can cause injuries in the mouth that could abscess and lead to a reluctance to eat.
If you carefully watch their weight, the next one who loses weight I might consider taking to a veterinary dentist.
Have they been treated for parasites?
They are not related genetically, their diet hasn´t changed since i have had them all. They are fed dried gertie Guinea pig food, fresh veg, hay and water daily. They are housed in a large shed, in wooden hutches made especially for them. They are bedded out with wood shavings, straw and hay. They occasionally get give redi grass, which is like alfalfa. It is so quick when you do notice that they are unwell. They eventually collapse, they dont like to be held (which is very strange) touching them seems to hurt them! It is fairer to put them down, but i have no idea what it is. I am going to find out the results of the post mortom when i go into work tomorrow. does anyone have any suggestions, please help!
Guinea pigs tend to mask their symptoms, they could actually be sick for a longer time than you are aware of.
Peace, Love, and Happiness, Always
The vet who did the post mortom on him has found a lot of different things which may have relavence. His stomach was full of what looked like a porridge like substance (this is nothing like what i fed him) it was overly large even though he didn´t eat the day he died. It was not twisted so no torsion. The gall bladder was full, the liver was covered in white spots. She has taken several samples and sent them to the labratory, so results will be on there way to me by the end of the week hopefully! in the meantime i have another one who seems to have lost weight. am keeping a very close eye on him but he seems to be himself. any more advice will help me a lot please.
I was reminded of it because horses are like pigs and cannot be sick - but grass sickness causes such a breakdown in their systems that food is forcibly regurgitated.
My only suggestion would be that maybe the pasture your hay came from is suspect. A change of hay supplier can´t do any harm - it may be something unknown in the pasture or possibly that chemicals are being used on the hay crop. Or do you pick them fresh grass regularly from somewhere?
The two diseases may be unrelated - but I hope you find the cause soon.
"In the early 1990´s, a disease almost identical to grass sickness was discovered in hares, some of which occurred on pastures where there had been recent cases of the equine disease. Soon after, it was discovered that a form of the disease mucoid enteropathy, which affects wild and domestic rabbits, also has similar features to grass sickness. However, there is no evidence that hares, rabbits and horses can pass the disease to each other."
the above posts reminded me of something I read a while back about fluke (liver? but not necessarily) in guinea pigs. I couldn´t find it, but I found a lot on it in other animals. There are lots of different types of fluke, that can infect any of the organs (especially the liver) and blood. They can cause a whole range of symptoms, a lot that were mentioned in your post, and is fatal in large numbers.
The treatment is INJECTED ivermectin. Topical ivermec won´t work, orally it may help, but probably won´t do enough, so ensure it´s injected. If it is fluke your, whole herd will have been exposed so ALL will need treatment.
I hate to say it, but it may be to late for the more advanced cases, so don´t rule it out if it doesn´t cure the first pig you try the ivermec on.
It´s caught from eating food (grass, greens, etc) that infected snails have been on, so washing or even withdrawing suspect food may help to avoid it reccurring, or infecting the ones that haven´t got it yet (if there are any). You can have the poos tested, but this doesn´t detect the fluke if they haven´t reproduced, and it´s possible to get types that are big, so will do serious (fatal?) damage, before this stage. I thought maybe the white spots on the liver might have been fluke, but I´m sure the tests will prove this either way.
I´d suggest injecting ivermectin, as it won´t do any harm and might be the solution. Plus it´s pretty cheap so I reckon it´s worth a try. I don´t know if this is what is wrong with your pigs, I´m not a vet, and I know very little about the subject, but I think anything´s worth trying at this stage. I´ll try to find piggies specific info and post back if I do.
Fluke can also affect humans, so make sure you wash your hands after handling them or their piggie litter or food.
I´m so sorry that this has happened, and I hope you can work out what it is before any other of your piggies die. Until you know what it is, quarantine the sick ones (maybe have a second level of quarantine for the ones that aren´t sick, but have been near ones that are) and keep everything as clean as you can. Keep the sick ones warm and comfy, and make sure they eat and drink. Keep a close eye on the healthy ones for any sign of sickness (look out for signs of jaundice too).
Hope this is helpful, and that they all get/stay well.
- For the love of my girls!
- For the love of my girls!
It´s obvious the really visible symptoms occur at the last stage of this illness. The one who recently died might have had the infection already in an advanced state. You don´t know about the others. The ones who appear completely healthy may already have the beginnings of the infection. These are the ones the treatment might save.
It would be worth continuing unless your vet says the treatment is having no effect. Since you know what the bacteria is, you know you are using the right antibiotic. That is half the battle.